Whitecaps look to klap Thunder - The Province - Back of the Net

Tearing our eyes away from Setanta long enough to comment on the latest in pro soccer.

OK. That headline was a reference for any South Africans out there, in the spirit of World Cup 2010, which, contrary to some reports will actually take place there ... just not in an organized fashion and not with the host team in sniffing range.

Moving on. The Whitecaps, yes, the Whitecaps make an appearance on Back of the Net. Wait, Euro snobs, don't run for the hills yet! Have a heart, it's playoff time. Show some love for your local lads.

Vancouver (15-7-8 regular season) is in Blaine, Minn., Sunday at 3 p.m. PST to take on the Minnesota Thunder (10-11-9) in the second leg of their two-game, aggregate-goals USL-1 quarterfinal.

The Caps won 2-0 at Swamp-gard Stadium on Friday, which is only the second best reference of the week, behind Canucks Kyle Wellfed. That puts them firmly in the driver's seat. Minnesota has just one goal in four games against Vancouver this season, so it's far-fetched to expect two from them in this one.

There will be a preview in the Big Paper on Sunday, along with a feature on Nick Addlery and his dance moves.

Around the league, Rochester took its first game 2-0 at home over Charleston, while Seattle won 2-1 at home to Montreal. First place Puerto Rico has a bye and will face the lowest remaining seed next round.

Caps lineup notes: D Omar Jarun is not with the team. His suspension is over but he picked up a hip injury in training recently and is not fit to go. He'd be a nice player against a physical Thunder side, but the Caps have made do without him, and so many other defenders this season that it's really not a big deal at this point. ... D Wesley Charles, who left the game briefly Friday, is here and expected to start. His left thigh has been causing him trouble for a few weeks now, and his legs in general seem to be taking a beating (ankles, groin — if that's part of the leg — etc.). ... F Nick Addlery took a rocket free kick to the face right before subbing off Friday but he's fine. ... M Justin Moose was limited to 15 minutes due to illness but should be fit to start, though head coach Teitur Thordarson now has a tough choice, considering how bloody well rookie M Mason Trafford played on Friday. ... I'll blog the starting lineup from the National Sports Centre Stadium as soon as it comes in Sunday, and will post some game updates, too.

How is Blaine, Minn, you ask? Well, consider this conversation I had with not one, but two hotel employees.
Me: Anything must see if you're only in town for a day? In the Twin Cities area perhaps?
Hotel guy: (Long pause) No, nothing I can think of.